As one of the Esri Innovation Programs (EIP), the University of Maryland nominates a candidate for the EIP Student of the Year Award. In 2024, the winner is Fernanda Argueta. She is currently a graduate student in our MSGIS program. She also works full time as a GIS Specialist for the Department of State Climate Security and Resilience (CS&R) Program, where she has taken a leading role in optimizing the Climate Security and Resilience Dashboard.

Each year, the Esri Innovation Program (EIP) celebrates exceptional students who push the boundaries of geospatial innovation. As an Esri Innovation Program (EIP), the Master of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences at GEOG has nominated Fernanda Argueta.

In addition to being a master’s student, Argueta also works as a GIS specialist at the US Department of State. Before the Department of State, she served as a GIS data analyst for NASA Harvest, where she used ArcGIS in research projects such as this “Suitability Analysis: Agricultural Supply Chain Efficiency.”

Winning the EIP Student of the Year nomination is a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of Argueta. For her, it represents the culmination of her academic journey, validating her hard work and dedication. "Receiving this recognition is such an honor!" Argueta expressed. "It is a validation of my academic journey and a boost to my confidence as I focus on my future career endeavors."

Argueta attributes her success to the mentorship she received throughout her master's program. "Learning from accomplished individuals not only gave me an edge but also instilled in me a strong work ethic," Argueta shared. "Their support and guidance helped me through challenges and ultimately led to winning this nomination."

Nominees receive a $500 cash award sponsored by Esri, an Esri Press eBook and a certificate of recognition.

Looking ahead, Argueta expresses excitement for the future. She envisions a career focused on research and collaborative teams, prioritizing roles that align with her passion.

The EIP not only recognizes individual achievements but also highlights the importance of geospatial education and research in universities. By fostering collaboration and innovation, EIP universities, such as the University of Maryland,  propel the field of geospatial technology forward, shaping the future of GIS research and education.